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Posted on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 4 p.m.

Michigan running back Vincent Smith says he's 100 percent recovered from ACL injury

By Michael Rothstein

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Sophomore Vincent Smith is second in rushing for the Michigan football team with 325 yards.

He was hit while on a kick return against Iowa, forcing his helmet down and cutting his nose. Nine days later, the scab was still visible on the bridge of Vincent Smith’s nose.

Compared to what Smith went through in the off-season, though, the sophomore running back will deal with that. At least he’s seeing plenty of playing time for the Michigan football team (5-2 overall, 1-2 Big Ten).

Smith went from player with potential as a freshman to a sophomore with questions about how healthy he’d be after tearing his ACL against Ohio State in November. He sat out spring practice while nursing the injury.

“It was pretty scary just being on the sidelines and looking at practices and stuff like that,” Smith said. “Not knowing when I was going to be ready and just the rehab and stuff like that.”

Smith always knew he’d return - going through the pain of working on balance drills and lifting heavy weights as he rebuilt strength in his repaired knee - but the question was when he’d be at full strength.

At the beginning of the season, he wasn’t. As late as two weeks ago, before Iowa, he said he was close but not quite there.

Now? After a week in which Michigan was idle entering Saturday's game (8 p.m., ESPN) at Penn State (4-3, 1-2)?

“I’m 100 percent on my knee,” Smith said. “When I’m on the field and just in different areas and whatever, I feel pretty confident.”

Playing consistently helped that. A season ago, Smith sat behind senior running backs Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor. He played, but didn’t receive nearly the carries he was used to at Pahokee (Fla.) High School. He gained 276 yards on 48 touches last year before tearing the knee in the season finale.

This year, while splitting carries with Michael Shaw, Smith has 70 carries, 325 yards and four touchdowns. He also has caught two touchdown passes. His carries and yardage are second only to sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson.

“Last year was like once you get in and make a play because you never know when your number was going to be called,” Smith said. “It had never been like that.

“It was frustrating at times, but you have to know what’s at stake and know your role again as a freshman.”

Now, along with Robinson, he’s taken control of the Michigan backfield.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

hey ghost... jim harbaugh... not coming, not coming, not coming, not coming, not coming, not coming, not coming! i'am glad we can provide you with comic relief, it must be lonely being dead an all... GO BLUE...


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

Regarding Smith, I'm not sold on him yet. He had potential last year but I agree it takes a full year to recover from an ACL repair. I wish him the best but would like to see what Cox and Fitz can do. ERM Ghost, I love the post. I may not have always been happy with Lloyd Carr's play calling but he always had a solid team. I still support Rich Rod and hope he can turn things around but it doesn't seem likely with the defense getting worse in each of his 3 years. I will always support Michigan but that doesn't mean I have to love the coach and I don't.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

You never come back stronger (Or even as strong) after an ACL, MCL, or anything more than a scope. not to say that he cant have a measure of success, but itll never be as good as a knee that was not torn in the first place. The tendons are stretched tighter, and all the rehab gives you more muscle, so in the beginning itll seem stronger, but the attachment is about 30-40% as durable as the original.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

soap...Hey, I hope you ARE around long after RR is gone! But, RR may be here for 15 to 20 years, win half a dozen NC's, and 15 league titles! So don't hold your breath! And, if you still think RR's a bum, I could care less. Meanwhile, RR's playing defense with a boat-load of freshman, who should be watching, because your buddie Lloyd, didn't want to recruit his last couple of years. Let's face it, LC's defenses (aka, 'country club U'), looked terrible, against many teams, his last 3 or 4 years. Henne, Hart, Long, Arrington, Maningham, all were offensive guys. I actually felt sorry for them, because once you got past that 'core group', of 7 or 8 kids, the program was embarressing. That's why Hart had to whip everybody up, to play for the old man. BUT, I continued to be supportive. Think about it, the guys who actually support RR, are Gary Mo, Hanlon, Don Nehland, John Falk, but not LC. I think I would trust THEIR assessment of whether RR can coach or not. In fact, Brandon has been more supportive of RR, in 7 games, than LC has been in over 2 years! What's up with that!?! And if I hear one more time, about Les Miles, or Jim,'Foot in Mouth', Harbaugh, I'm going to scream! Those 'old blues' fans need to get over themselves, and move on. This is 2010, not 1965!


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 2:23 p.m.

@ Ghost... Does it make it easier for you to accept Michigan losses if you constantly blame the coaching? How do you think this defense would perform with, say, Nick Saban coaching a bunch of Freshmen, walk-ons and position swithces on that side of the ball? That being said, V. Smith has been okay. He's only a sophomore who's coming off an ACL injury but he's tough and will only get better. He plays bigger than he is and breaks more tackles than Shaw. I really do not worry one bit about our running game (or our offense). I really look forward to see what Fitz Toussant and Mike Cox has to offer because I hear they have the biggest "upside." Hopkins has been good but he's not a speedster by any means but perfect for the I-formation which, believe it or not, Rich Rod actuall has used a bit. Ofcourse, if Dee Hart is half as good as he's supposed to be he will be the feature back within 2 years.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 1:25 p.m.

I actually agree w/Tater and think Smith has lost half a step. He's definitely not as quick as he was last season. Maybe this week off did let him recover enough to get close, but earlier this year on a long break away, we was nearly caught from behind. Last year, that wouldn't have happened. BTW, Hopkins is where the future lies at RB IMO (maybe Toussant too if he can stay healthy). RichRod has recruited kids that aren't just small in stature, but small in frame. That's not a formula for success in the Big 10. The small back that have been successful (Hart, Jamie Morris, some of the Iowa kids) have been short, but were definitely not narrow. They had some heft to them. Next year, I think you'll see a change in the backfield rotation.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

"As a side note, I'm always amazed at the constant flood of off-topic, anti-Rodriguez vitriol that appears here no matter what the subject of the article is. The article is about Vincent Smith -not Rich Rodriguez." Exactly 81wolverine, but do those posters ever get their comments removed for being off topic? No. Kind of a double standard on this site.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

Good to hear about Vincent Smith. He's surprised a lot of people with his toughness despite being such a small back. As a side note, I'm always amazed at the constant flood of off-topic, anti-Rodriguez vitriol that appears here no matter what the subject of the article is. The article is about Vincent Smith -not Rich Rodriguez. In fact, RR's name doesn't even appear anywhere in the article! Sheesh. Give it a rest people.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

theo How can you demand 'honor and dignity' from us but not your 'king'? Are you and your 'king' cousins? Because you act in the same manner and sound the same doing it. Never taking responsibility for your actions and sounding like you're from Mayberry R.F.D..


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 7:17 a.m.

@always I believe the this job is one you retire from, but it is only that way because the University has made some great hires in the past (present coach excluded). Just don't kid yourself one second about the national perception, is just not there. Just ask yourself why did rr leave his last job? Every reason you find can be applied to this job here, sans one, in wv he was loved by all. That is so not the case here! He could leave on his own for many reasons. Money? Though it would be tough to find a school dumb enough to pay him as much or more than Michigan. Better work environment? Many smaller market teams might go easier on him, because the demand less in a person. There are so many versions of the 'spread' in the college game it is mind blowing. So why do we have to settle on rr's? Look I don't believe rr is leaving for a pro team. They don't run this offense there because when you have talent at ever position and smart coaches the 'gimmicks' don't fly. But I do believe that he is in over his head. Plain and simple. Just because you and I love the program doesn't mean everyone loves it the same way. So in closing I don't see rr retiring from here, he will either be run out (my choice) or leave on his own. Don't hate me for standing up for what I believe in. This great nation was formed because people speak out for that very thing. Any way you slice it I will continue to donate to the school, pay for my tickets, wear my gear and support the University of Michigan.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 11:41 p.m.

Fair enough paper! But, and please throw aside all RIchRod bias to discuss this point as a singularity... can you really imagine any coach using Michigan as a stepping stone? I fully admit I wear maize n blue contact lens, but I am fully capable of taking them out... and even then I find it hard to believe anyone would use Michigan as a "stepping stone". Michigan is a career destination... sure its possible someone might leave Michigan for the NFL at some point... but I truly don't think anyone would voluntarily leave Michigan for any other position. Heck, we took Rod (who like him or not is a diehard VWU guy) and brought him over here. I don't want this to deviate into a criticism of Rod again... I just mean that to prove that almost anyone would jump at the chance to come to Michigan to coach. There were soooo many rumors that Ferentz was going to leave his good situation at Iowa to come to Michigan for a while. Basically... unless you are at a school like OSU/PSU/BAMA... you have a chance of losing your coach to another school. Michigan puts themselves in that very elite category (3 rough years do NOT define our program!!!), although if anyone can give me some evidence to believe otherwise, I would welcome it. I wanted to try to put a pre-emptive counterargument in here, but for whatever reason I honestly cannot think of a reason to leave UM for a non-NFL (and even then) coaching job.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 10:18 p.m.

Like I said in my opinion it is just a feeling I get from him, and I have to say that I don't like it! I am sure he told wvu that he was happy there also. Go Blue 4 Life!


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

Paper... Michigan as a "stepping stone"??? Has any coach ever voluntarily left Michigan to coach somewhere else? Michigan has never been a stepping stone and never will be. Can you give me any evidence that he has ever viewed Michigan as a stepping stone? Aside from his multiple statements to the contrary of course...


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 7:11 p.m.

You are right on Lorain! Even IF (big if) rr goes 13-0 with a NC there is no way I would support him as our coach. He is a BUM and once a bum always a bum. But I can tell you that I WILL be around long after he is gone. He is as good as gone lady, whether Michigan gets smart and cuts our losses (there are quite a lot of those by the way) or he leaves for a 'better' program. He has always given off that vibe that he thinks Michigan is just a stepping stone program IMO. Just let me know when the trucks get there I will help load. Go blue 4 Life!

Sean T.

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 3:51 p.m.

It's good to see him healthy. You're absolutely right "Ghost".

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Smith is OK. I like the kid. And to be honest, I get the feeling that this team is a'close' group. They won't be detered by outsiders, and fairweather fans, that just want to run down the program. It's tough on 'em, cuz they're just kids, and they haven't figured out yet, that there are some fans, that would be negative, even if Coach Rod went 12-0. Winning will solve a lot of problems and hopefully, that'll start again saturday evening.